Pro-democratic qualities of Platform Economy

Platform Economy refers to the interactions among distributed groups of people supported by digital platforms that enable them to exchange (matching supply and demand), share and collaborate in the consumption and production of activities leveraging capital and goods assets, and labour. Currently, Platform Economy is growing rapidly and exponentially, creating great interest, and has become a top priority for governments around the globe. In spite of that, it has three challenges: regulation to be an opportunity for public innovation; the assessment of its sustainability, considering relevant questions, such as environmental impact, gender and inclusion, or legal implications; the necessity to distinguish the different type of platform economy models, from the extractionist corporation platforms (like Uber and Airbnb), which are provoking huge controversy, to open commons and platform cooperativism, based on social economy and open knowledge, which have received limited policy and research attention.

In order to contribute to address these challenges, Dimmons has developed a framework (see figure below) to assess the pro-democratic qualities of Platform Economy, considering governance, economic strategy, technology and data policies, and impacts and social responsibility towards the externalities of the platforms. This analytical tool helps to characterize the platforms, differentiating the models by visualizing the democratic qualities of Platform Economy initiatives and provide insights of the sustainability implications of their design and performance from several perspectives.

Framework to assess the pro-democratic qualities of Platform Economy.

Using this framework, specially adapted to digital labour platforms in urban spaces, Dimmons is going to analyze 100 cases (considering the three type of platforms referred). The results of this research will help to show the relevance of each aspect (linked to the study of each dimension) in the configuration of a digital labour platform.

More information about us. Dimmons is a research group at IN3 (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) focuses on socio-economic innovation connected to the challenges and opportunities open up by the digital revolution sphere, and more concretely, on collaborative economy and the commons. Other terms adopted on certain occasions to refer to these topics are social innovation, common based peer production (CBPP), platform/open cooperativism, or sharing economy.

Regarding PLUS, Dimmons will facilitate the economic approach to the project and will take care to connect the outcomes with the pilots involved.

— By Dimmons.

This project has received funding form the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822638. The information and views set out in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.